CUUC

CUUC

2015-09-30

Embrace Wonder

Practice of the Week
Embrace Wonder

For the practice of the week this week, select one of these four practices for embracing wonder. Three of the four (A, B, and D) and journaling exercises. One of them (C) involves action.

Option A: Journaling Your Ordinary Wonder

What seemingly simple thing sustains your sense of reverence right now? What ordinary object or relationship reminds you of life’s preciousness? What is currently helping you not take things for granted? Or even, what keeps you curious and engaged? Perhaps this is an easy question for you. If not, reflect on why and take some time to reconnect with the source of ordinary wonder that is surely right under your nose. Either way your task is straight-forward: select an object or story that testifies to ordinary, everyday life as a source of wonder. Write about it in your journal, describing the ordinariness and the wonderfulness -- and explaining why this wonderful thing sitting in the center of your ordinary life makes everything not feel so ordinary.

Option B: Who’s Been Wonderful Lately?

We say it with a huge smile: “I love it when people surprise me!” The jerk at the office who, out of nowhere, is the one most kind. The nervous and cautious child of yours who unexpectedly turns brave. The self-sacrificing friend who finally stands up for herself. All of them leave us in wonder at what people are capable of -- at what we are capable of. This assignment challenges you to find at least 2 “wonder folk” -- two people who surprise you, two people who remind you why it’s important to never write people off. Then write in your journal the story of your two wonderful folk -- and also why you needed this wonderful reminder.

Option C: I Wonder What Would Happen If I . . . .

All of us regularly find ourselves asking, “I wonder what would happen if I…” If you are sick of asking and finally want to move from wondering to action, then consider this just the prod you need to go for it. First, identify: what is it you’ve been wondering about for far too long? Second, take a step. Decide on one thing you are going to do to live into that curiosity rather than just make guesses about it -- then do it.

Option D: Do You Prefer Child-Like Wonder or Adult-Like Wonder?

Of course there’s no need to pick. Truth is we prefer one type or the other depending on what we need most right now. With that awareness front and center, reflect on these questions in your journal: What type of wonder are you most in need of right now? Identify one small way to meet that need. Prepare for your reflection by reading Gretchen Rubin's blog about child-like wonder and adult-like wonder. (CLICK HERE.)

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Previous Practice of the Week: "Take More Breaks"
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week"

2015-09-29

CUUC Music: Sun Oct 4


Sunday morning’s musical selections feature lutenist Harris Becker playing gems from the English Renaissance and in collaboration with soprano and CUUC Choir Director Lisa N. Meyer. The CUUC Choir is also on hand with works by Thomas Morley and Roger Emerson. Read on for programming details and Mr.Becker’s biography.
Prelude: Harris Becker, lute
Captain Digorie Piper's Galliard                         
A Fancy                                                           
The Melancholy Galliard
A Fancy
                                                John Dowland (1563-1623)
Anthem: CUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Sing We And Chant It (ca. 1580) 
Thomas Morley    

Offertory: Lisa Meyer, soprano
Fair, Sweet, Cruel (ca. 1600)                          
Thomas Ford  
Anthem:
Mountain Dance                                                  
Roger Emerson    
Harris Becker has had a rich and varied career as a guitarist and lutenist. As a young musician studying the classical guitar he had a fascination with improvisation, which led him to explore jazz. He also had a strong interest in contemporary music, which offered him the opportunity to work closely with composers and premiere many solo and ensemble pieces throughout his career. Among the composers who have dedicated works to him are Carlo Domeniconi, Hayley Savage, Raoul Pleskow, Howard Rovics, microtonal composer Johnny Reinhard, Alan Hirsh, Michael Frassetti, Joseph Russo and Richard Iacona.
Becker has performed extensively both as a soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Europe, South America, Mexico and Canada. In recent years he has given concerts and master classes in New York, Alabama, Canada, Connecticut, Florida and Bermuda. In the fall of 2014 Mr. Becker gave concerts and master classes in Thailand and throughout Vietnam including at the U.S  Consulate in Saigon. In the spring of 2015 “The Amaryllis Project” (world-renowned pipa virtuoso Liu Fang and Harris Becker) gave a concert of world premieres for pipa & guitar at the Long Island Guitar Festival, which included a new work by Carlo Domeniconi.

In 1993 Mr. Becker founded the Long Island Guitar Festival, of which the New York Times wrote: “The “Long Island” in the festival title clearly refers to its location and origins, rather than to its scope”. Mr. Becker has been a faculty member at Nassau Community College, The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College and Director of Music for Mixed Ensembles at the International Institute for Chamber Music at the Richard Strauss Conservatory in Munich. The Florida State Division of Cultural Affairs selected Mr. Becker to participate in Florida's Artist Residency Program, giving lecture/performances on the lute and baroque guitar. Harris Becker is Director of Guitar Studies at LIU Post. He recently received an award for outstanding service from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Long Island University.  Mr. Becker is also a member of the Artesian Guitar Quartet.

Harris Becker is co-founder and artistic director of the summer music festival in rural Quebec “Songe d’été en Musique”. The festival just celebrated its tenth anniversary at which the Youth Orchestra of the Americas took part led by artisitic director Placido Domingo. This concert was called “historic” by the press in Quebec.  His recordings include “Catgut Flambo” with guitarist Pasquale Bianculli and a solo CD “Passing Through.” His editions and publications are published by T.D. Ellis Music Publishing and Calavar Music.

Mr. Becker’s presentation of these pieces was a study in fluidity and grace…”   Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council

2015-09-23

Take Many Breaks

Practice of the Week
Take Many Breaks

Rick Hanson on taking more breaks:


Adapted from Rick Hanson, Just One Thing. [Order a copy for yourself: HERE.]

As we evolved in hunter-gatherer bands over millions of years, life moved at the pace of a walk, in rhythm with the seasons and with the rising and setting of the sun each day. In many of the hunter-gatherer cultures still existing today, it takes only a few hours a day to find food and shelter. Its a good guess that our ancient ancestors lived similarly, and spent the rest of their time relaxing hanging out with friends, and looking at the stars.

Sure, life was tough in other ways, like dodging saber-tooth tigers, yet the point remains that the human body and mind evolved to be in a state of rest or leisure -- in other words, on a break -- much of the time.

But now, in the twenty-first century, people routinely work ten, twelve, or more hours a day -- when you count commuting, working from home, and business travel -- to put bread on the table and a roof over their heads. Much the same is true if a person is a stay-at-home parent, since "the village it takes to raise a child" usually looks more like a ghost town these days. Many of us are on the job and on the go from soon after we wake up in the morning and check emails or feed children (or both!) to the last time we pull phone messages at night.

It makes you wonder who is "advanced" and who is "primitive"!

The modern, pedal-to-the-metal lifestyle produces chronic stress and tension, and related physical and mental health issues. It also crowds out creative pursuits, friendships, recreation, spiritual life, and time for children and mates. Therapists these days often see families where one or both parents are dealing with work sixty-plus hours a week (both because there are so many such families, and because the stress of it drives them to therapy). The job is an elephant in the living room, pushing everything else to the margins.

Imagine for a moment that you are sitting comfortably somewhere in your old age and looking back on your life and reflecting. Do you think you are going to wish you had spent more time on the job or doing housework?

Or wish you had spent more time relaxing, hanging out with friends, and looking at the stars?

How

So promise yourself that you'll take more breaks. Most of them will be brief, even a minute or less. But their accumulating effects will be really good for you.

Here are some methods for getting more breaks; pick one(s) you like best:
  • Give yourself permission. Tell yourself that you have worked hard and deserve a little rest; that it's important for your health; that your productivity will actually increase with more breaks; that even cavemen/women got more breaks than you!
  • Renounce everything else. When it's time for a break, drop everything else for that time. Truly "clock out."
  • Take lots of microbreaks. Many times a day, step out of the stream of doingness for at least a few seconds: close your eyes for a moment; take a couple of deep breaths; shift your visual focus to the farthest point you can see; repeat a saying or prayer; stand up and move about.
  • Shift gears. Maybe you have to keep grinding through your To Do list, but at least take a break from task A by doing a different kind of task B.
  • Get out. Look out the window; go outside and stare up at the sky; find a reason to walk out of a meeting.
  • Unplug. If only for a few minutes, stop answering your phone(s); shut down e-mails; turn off the TV or radio; take off the earphones.
  • Make your body happy. Wash your face; eat a cookie; smell something good; stretch; lie down; rub your eyes or ears.
  • Go on a mental holiday. Remember or imagine a setting (mountain lake? tropical beach? grandma's kitchen?) that makes you feel relaxed and happy. When you can, go there and enjoy yourself. "They" may have your body, but they don't get your mind.
  • Keep your stress needle out of the red zone. If you find yourself getting increasingly frustrated or tense in some situation, disengage and take a break before your head explodes. Staying out of "red zone" stress is a serious priority for your long-term health and well-being.
To get at the underlying causes of your busy life and lack of breaks, consider all the things you think you have to do. Can you drop or delegate some of these? And can you take on fewer commitments and tasks in the future?

Personally, I've been slowly learning how to say no. No to low priority activities, no to great things I just don't have time for, no to my appetite for filling up my calendar.

Saying no will help you say yes to your own well-being, to friends, to activities that really feed you, to an uncluttered mind. To the stars twinkling high above your head.

For Journaling

Reflect on each of the bullet points above: Would it work for you? Why or why not? Will you implement it? Which one is your favorite?

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Previous Practice of the Week: "Say Yes"
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week"

All Westchester UU Vespers Service: Fridays

The All Westchester UU Vespers Service invites all UUs of Westchester to gather in community and Worship every other Friday evening.

The All Westchester UU Vespers Services began last September, and for some months alternated between First Unitarian Society of Westchester in Hastings and Community UU Congregation in White Plains. The services are now all hosted at:

First Unitarian Society of Westchester
25 Old Jackson Ave,
Hastings-On-Hudson, NY 10706

The services begin at 7:00pm and are led by a rotation of ministers and a ministerial intern that includes Rev. Peggy Clarke, Rev. Meredith Garmon, and Emily DeTar.

The All Westchester UU Vespers services offer a chance to “decompress” and renew at the end of the work week. They also serve to bring the congregations together and build connections among Westchester UUs. Members of all UU congregations in Westchester are encouraged to attend when they can.

For 2016, the Friday Vespers services are fortnightly (every other Friday):

Fri Jan 8. Rev. Meredith Garmon
Fri Jan 22. Rev. Peggy Clarke
Fri Feb 5. Emily DeTar
Fri Feb 19. Rev. Meredith Garmon
Fri Mar 4. Emily DeTar
Fri Mar 18. Rev. Peggy Clarke
Fri Apr 1. Rev. Meredith Garmon
Fri Apr 15. Rev. Peggy Clarke
Fri Apr 29. Emily DeTar
Fri May 13. Rev. Meredith Garmon

Order of Service

Call to Worship
Chalice Lighting
Centering Silence (5 mins)
Reading
Singing Meditation
Candles of Joy and Sorrow
Prayer
Deepening Into Silence (8 mins)
Singing Meditation
Chalice Extinguishing

The 45-min. service is typically oriented toward the theme of the month, reflected in the selection of the short reading. Themes for the first half of 2016 are:
Jan: Resistance
Feb: Desire
Mar: Liberation
Apr: Creation
May: Blessing
Jun: Simplicity

Child Dedication


From UUA.org:
Baptism/Child Dedication in Unitarian Universalism

Rather than holding Christian-style baptisms or christenings, most Unitarian Universalist congregations have child dedication ceremonies for infants and children.

Child dedication ceremonies are usually crafted by the parents, the congregation's minister, and religious educator working closely together. Many will include the following elements:

  • A blessing for the new life of the child
  • An expression of the parent or parents’ hopes for the child
  • A promise by the congregation to support and nurture the child

If you are interested in having your child dedicated by a Unitarian Universalist minister or educator, either in your home or in the congregation, speak with the professional religious leaders at a congregation near you.

* * *
At Community UU

Twice a year Meredith and Perry lead the congregation in child dedications during a Sunday service. It takes 5 - 7 minutes, depending on how many children or youth are being dedicated. It goes something like this:

MEREDITH: The world’s faith traditions bring children into religious community in various ways: baptism, christening, bris, namakarana, various forms of child naming, blessing, initiating, and dedicating. Whatever the form, parents have brought their young children into the places of worship from time immemorial: to express their joy and their awe at the gift of new life, and their deep sense of responsibility.

PERRY: For us, the dedication is always double. The child is dedicated to all that is good and true – to the ground of being itself, and the ultimate context of meaning. And the congregation hereby becomes dedicated to the child. We delight in what our children are now, while we look forward to what they -- and we -- will become, knowing that their spiritual growth depends in no small part on us, and that ours depends on them. Parents, family, friends along with every member of this congregation share responsibility for the nurturing of every child here. It is our task to teach them the way of beauty and love, peace and justice --  and to learn from them zest and wonder of life.

Meredith then calls the names of the parents/guardians who are bringing children to be dedicated and invites them to come up on the chancel. He then asks the parents to announce to the congregation the name(s) of their child(ren) being dedicated. Perry then addresses the child(ren) by name and tells them: you are a part of this community that loves you.

For each child, Meredith dips a rose into the water from the congregation's water communion.

MEREDITH: With this water from our annual water communion, representing this diverse community flowing together, and symbolizing the oneness from which all life springs, and this rose, the symbol of life’s blooming possibilities for you, I touch you now on your brow, on your lips, and on your hands, to dedicate your thought and your speech, and your action to all in life that is good and true and beautiful. Hands the rose to the child or parent. Repeat for each child.

PERRY: If you are a relative, or godparent of a child being dedicated, or a visiting family friend, will you please rise. If you are proud to know these young ones, if you look forward to introducing them to the world and helping them become who they will be, please say, “We will.”

If applicable [names of siblings]: you have sisters and brothers being dedicated today. If you promise to help them have a good time here, please say, “We will.”

Will all the children and youth of the congregation rise? If you are happy to get to know these friends, and if you will be kind to them, please say, “We will.”

Every member undertakes the sacred and joyful obligation to know, to nurture, to teach, and to help these children. Will all members now rise and pledge with me the words of the Congregational Dedication printed in your Order of Service:

May you grow to a life of joy.
May you grow to love other people.
May you grow to be courageous to challenge evil.
May you speak the truth you know,
And never cease from seeking to know more.
In everyone you meet,
May you recognize kinship and accept difference.
May you endow those who know you with faith and hope.
May you grow to be strong and gentle.
May you lessen a bit our human sorrows.
And to help to realize our hopes for you,
To guide you and comfort you,
To teach you and learn from you,
We, your religious community, dedicate ourselves.

MEREDITH: We pray that we shall be worthy guardians of these young lives, that the community we build will be one in which they may grow – and grow old – surrounded by beauty, embraced by love, and cradled in the arms of peace.

2015-09-22

CUUC Music: Sun Sep 27


The intimate miniatures for solo piano of Catalan composer Federico Mompou are featured this Sunday morning at CUUC. In addition, CUUC’s Choir is on hand to perform the American classic “Ching-a-ring-Chaw” as well as the hymn-like “Closer to the Flame”. Read on for programming details,  and visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOqY788C1qI to preview Music Director Adam Kent’s performances of Mompou’s music.
Prelude: Adam Kent, piano
Cris dans la rue and Jeunes filles au jardin from Scènes d’enfants           
Cuna and Gitano from Impresiones íntimas                       
Federico Mompou

Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Geogianna Pappas
Ching-a-ring Chaw                                     
Traditional American, arr. by Linda Spevacek

Offertory:
El Carrer El Guitarrista I El Vell Cavall from Suburbis
                                    Mompou

Anthem:
Closer to the Flame                           
Susan Boersa and David Lantz, III     

Mindfulness Meditation Intensive, Sep 25-26

Mindfulness Meditation Intensive led by Rev. Sam Trumbore, Fri-Sat Sep 25-26. Please register with the office (call 946-1660 or email admin@cucwp.org).
Fri Sep 25, 6 - 9pm and Sat Sep 26, 8am - 3pm, at CUUC, Fellowship Hall: This Intensive practice and training session led by Rev. Sam Trumbore gives participants an opportunity to learn Buddhist mindfulness meditation techniques or refresh and deepen their meditation practice. All are welcome from first timers to experts. There will be a potluck vegan lunch on Saturday and all are encouraged to bring something to share.

Insight oriented, mindfulness meditation is one of the best for Unitarian Universalists. It helps people train their minds to strengthen concentration and intensify moment-to-moment awareness. Regular practice of this technique quiets and sharpens the mind, opens the heart and can improve one's physical health.

Rev. Trumbore is the minister serving the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, New York. He has practiced Buddhist insight meditation for 30 years and is Past President of the Unitarian Universalist Buddhist Fellowship.

2015-09-16

Say Yes

Practice of the Week
Say Yes

Rich Hanson on saying yes:


Adapted from Rick Hanson, Just One Thing. [Order a copy for yourself: HERE.]

When our son was doing theater in high school, I learned about an exercise for improvisational acting ("improv"): no matter what another actor says or does to you, you are always supposed to figuratively (and sometimes literally) say yes to it. In other words if someone on stage turns to you and says, "Doctor, why does my baby have two heads?" you should respond with something like, "Because two heads are better than one."

Real life is like improv: the script's always changing and saying yes keeps you in the flow, pulls for creativity, and makes it more fun. Try saying no out loud or in your mind. How's that feel? Then say yes. Which one feels better, opens your heart more, and draws you more into the world?

Saying yes to some part of life -- to a condition or situation, to a relationship, to your history or personality, or to something happening inside your own mind -- does not necessarily mean that you like it. You can say yes to pain, to sorrow, to the things that aren't going well for you or others.

Your yes means that you accept the facts as they are, that you are not resisting them emotionally even if you are trying with all your might to change them. This will usually bring some peace -- and will help any actions you take be more effective.

How

Say yes to something you like. Then yes to something neutral. Both of these are probably easy.

Then say yes to something you don't like. Can you do that, too? As you do this, try to feel a sense that you are okay, fundamentally, even though what you dislike exists. Also try to feel some acceptance in your yes, some surrender to the facts as they are, whether you like them or not.

Try saying yes to more things that are not your preference. You're not saying yes that you approve of them, but -- for example -- yes it's raining at my picnic, yes people are poor and hungry across the planet, yes my career has stalled, yes I miscarried, yes my dear friend has cancer. Yes that's the way it is. Yes to being in traffic. Yes to the job you have. Yes to the body you have.

Yes to the twists and turns in your life so far: large and small; good, bad, and indifferent; past, present, and future. Yes to the younger sibling whose birth toppled you from your throne. Yes to your parents' work and your family circumstances. Yes to your choices after leaving home. Yes to what you had for breakfast. Yes to moving someplace new. Yes to the person you are sleeping with -- or yes to not sleeping with anyone. Yes to having children -- or to not having them.

Say yes to what arises in the mind. Yes to feelings, sensations, thoughts, images, memories, desires. Yes even to things that need to be restrained -- such as an angry impulse to hit something, undeserved self-criticism, or an addiction.

Say yes to all the parts of the people in your life. Yes to the love in your parents and also yes to the parts that bothered you. Yes to a friend's flakiness amidst her good humor and patience, yes to another friend's sincerity amidst her irritability and criticalness. Yes to every bit of a child, a relative, a distant acquaintance, an adversary.

And yes to different parts of yourself -- whatever they are. Not picking and choosing right now, but saying yes -- YES -- to whatever is inside you.

Play with different tones of yes (out loud or in your mind) related to different things -- including the ones you don't like -- and see how this feels. Try a cautious yes, as well as a yes that is confident, soft, rueful, or enthusiastic.

Feel your yes in your body. To adapt a method from Thich Nhat Hanh: Breathing in, feel something positive; breathing out, say yes. Breathe in energy, breathe out yes. Breathe in calm, breathe out yes.

Say yes to your needs. Yes to the need for more time to yourself, more exercise, more love, fewer sweets, and less anger. Try saying no to these needs in your mind or out loud, and see how that feels. And then say yes to them again.

Say yes to actions. To this kiss, this lovemaking, this reaching for the salt, this brushing of teeth, this last good-bye to someone you love.

Notice your nos. And then see what happens if you say yes to some of the things you've previously said no to.

Say yes to being alive. Yes to life. Yes to your own life. Yes to each year, each day. Yes to each minute.

Imagine that life is whispering yes. Yes to all beings, and yes to you. Everything you've said yes to is saying yes to you. Even the things you've said no to are saying yes to you!

Each breath, each heartbeat, each surge across a synapse: each one says yes. Yes, all yes, all saying yes.

Yes.

For Journaling

For 7 minutes (set a timer), write one sentence after the other of the form, "Yes to ________." Fill in the blank with something different each time -- sometimes affirming your greatest pleasures and delights and sometimes affirming realities that have often been more difficult for you. Write as many "Yes to ____" sentences as you can in the time allotted.


* * *
Previous Practice of the Week: "Renew!"
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week Index"

CUUC Music: Sun Sep 20


September’s theme of Renewal is highlighted by Mozart’s joyous, life-affirming Sonata for Violin and Piano, K. 454. Musical guest violinist Elena Peres returns to CUUC, and participates in an informative discussion about playing together musically and socially in a special Music For All Ages. Consider arriving by 10am to hear this presentation. The morning ‘s Offertory commemorates the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, with Max Bruch’s setting of the Kol Nidre liturgical music.

September’s theme of Renewal is highlighted by Mozart’s joyous, life-affirming Sonata for Violin and Piano, K. 454. Musical guest violinist Elena Peres returns to CUUC, and participates in an informative discussion about playing together musically and socially in a special Music For All Ages. Consider arriving by 10am to hear this presentation. The morning's Offertory commemorates the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, with Max Bruch’s setting of the Kol Nidre liturgical music.

Prelude: Elena Peres, Violin; Adam Kent, piano
Music For All Ages
Playing Together: Sonata for Violin and Piano in Bb Major, K. 454
            III. Allegretto
                                    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Opening Music:
Sonata in Bb Major, K. 454
            I. Largo-Allegro
                                                            Mozart

Interlude:
Sonata in Bb Major, K. 343
            II. Andante
                                                Mozart

Offertory:
Kol Nidre, Op. 47                       
                                                            Max Bruch

2015-09-09

Renew!

Practice of the Week
Renew!


Our "Practice of the Week" this week fits the "Theme of the Month" at Community UU. The Theme is "Renewal," and there are four options for practicing it. You could try one each week for a month. Or just pick one and spend the month at it.

Option A: Name What Needs to Return

Renewal often comes through return. We get 25 steps down the road not realizing we had left precious pieces behind. What's missing when you look around? What have you let fall from your life? And how can you help it return? Fun? Forgiveness? Quiet? Time for yourself? That weekly night at the movies? A Saturday walk in the woods? Ambition? Art?

Your assignment: Name something precious that you want to return to your life. Spend the month making it happen.

Option B: Turn Away
In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” (Albert Camus)
This assignment asks us to take Camus’ words seriously. Every religious tradition reminds us that renewal sometimes requires removing ourselves from the normal ways of the world. Often we have to remove something from our life to make room for renewal to return.
  • Remove speed and the rat race from your life by trying out the practice of Sabbath.
  • Remove distraction and disconnection from your family by making a rule that everyone needs to put the cell phones on the shelf from dinner until the end of the night.
  • Remove your evening practice of a couple glasses of wine and find another way to relax.
  • Free yourself from the stereotypes about "senior citizens” and dye your hair purple or parachute out of a plane.
  • Kick the habit of consumerism by cutting your clothes budget for a month or two and wearing the same outfit for one week at a time. (It can be done: See BefriendingGreen, "Same Dress Different Day")
You get the idea. This culture of ours offers many gifts, but it can also lead us astray and leave us lost. Take this month to renew yourself and find your way back home by finding a way to turn away.

Option C: Turn It Into Something New

It's one of the most important insights along the spiritual path: Renewing the world is often the best path to renewing oneself. Whether it is working for justice or finding a way to bring a bit more beauty to our little neck of the woods, fixing the world regularly fixes us. Use this month to explore the spiritual truth more deeply.

Here are some stories about how others did it. May they inspire you to find your way:
Option D: Return to a Place of Renewal
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.” (Nelson Mandela)
This assignment asks us to take Mandela’s words seriously. Two ways to go about this:

1. Return to a place or time in your past by physically going there or pulling out the scrapbook. Often it helps to bring someone along on the journey. Sometimes they can see things we can't.

2. Return to a place or time that once brought you renewal. That path along the river or view out over the city which helped you feel that life had possibility again after the loss of your job. Dig out that picture of the dog you had as a kid. The one who slept with you and comforted you while your parents were going through their divorce. Even though it may make you feel silly or sentimental, pull out that old wedding dress, spread it out on the bed or dare to put it on. Call up that old friend from college. The one who was there through so much change and growing up.

Going back doesn't always mean going backwards. It often can mean gaining back something we need now. Maybe that's exactly the journey you have to make this month.

For Journaling

Reflect on your renewal exercise in your journal. What did it do to you? What was hard about it? What was easier than you thought it would be?

* * *
Previous Practice of the Week: "Simplify"
For list of all weekly practices: "Practices of the Week Index"

2015-09-08

CUUC Music: Sun Sep 13

CUUC’s annual Ingathering and Water Communion celebrations are marked by music with aqueous associations. The Choir is on hand with Andy Beck’s soulful, mysterious “In the Dark of Midnight” as well as a traditional American hymn. Music Director Adam Kent provides selections from a wide stylistic range, including an arrangement of the ubiquitous African-American Spiritual “Deep River”.
Spirituality of a different source inspires Franz Liszt’s Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este, an evocation of the fountains at the Villa d’Este in Tivoli, Italy, from the composer’s collection Years of Pilgrimage. In the midst of the score, Liszt interpolates the following quote from the Gospel of St. John: “But the water I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up in eternal life.” By contrast, Liszt’s Ballade No. 2 is said to derive from the Greek myth of Hero and Leander, and their ill-fated tryst across the stormy waters of the Dardanelles.
Elsewhere, titles are sufficiently evocative to suggest aquatic allusions. Read on for more programming specifics. and join us next week, when musical guest violinist Elena Peres returns to CUUC to perform Max Bruch’s Kol Nidre as well as works by Mozart. Consider arriving by 10am for a special family-friendly Music for All Ages with Ms. Peres and Adam Kent.

Prelude: Adam Kent, piano
“Song” from Sea Pictures, Op. 55                       
Edward MacDowell
Venetian Boatsong No. 2, Op. 30, No. 6           
                                                Felix Mendelssohn
Deep River                                   
                                                Trad. African-American, arr. by Coleridge-Taylor
Anthem: CUUC Choir directed by Lisa N. Meyer and accompanied by Georgianna Pappas
Down to the River to Pray           
Traditional American Hymn, arr. by Roger Emerson


Water Communion
Still Waters:
El lago                                                           
                                                            Federico Mompou
Shining Waters:
Les jeux d’eaux à la Villa d’Este
                                                            Franz Liszt
Storm Waters:
Ballade No. 2 in b minor
                                                            Liszt
Rushing Waters:
Brooklet, Op. 62, No. 4           
                                                Edvard Grieg

Offertory:
“At Sea”                                               
                                                Ernst Bloch
Anthem:
In The Dark Of Midnight   
Andy Beck